May Day with donks on the beach

I decided to spend May Day walking to the beach and having a picnic with the donks. As a novel idea, I put a loaded pack saddle on Rubi, as we were only travelling light. She managed very well and then Matilde did the return journey with the pack saddlebags empty, and the tummy straps very loose, as the assumption is that she’s pregnant until proven otherwise, and she is getting very sensitive about having her tummy touched at all.
The sight of the heroic little Rubi struggling uphill with the pack saddle was too much for some mountain bikers. “Te vas a matar la burra!” one of them shouted. “You’re going to kill the donkey!” (Yes, Barbara, this one is more of a drama queen than Dalie!)

The beach was really quiet because the weather has been awful over Easter and it was again a poor forecast for today, so obviously people had not planned for the beach. In fact it was a lovely afternoon. I even went in the sea for the first time since I arrived here last September. Cold but refreshing! The donks enjoyed the beach, but did not go near the sea. Donks hate water. Even crossing a puddle on the way to the beach was a major problem for them!
In the short space of time that I was in the water and out again, the donks had managed to entwine themselves into a wonderful knotted arrangement that took nearly fifteen minutes to unravel. They are a couple of clowns at times. I have no photo of that, as it was all a bit of a panic with hooves flying and much swearing.
We stopped in Vilajoiosa for a drink in a bar and a policeman from the policia local decided the whole thing was too suspicious, so he decided to ruin the relaxing afternoon by demanding to examine all the paperwork. My passport, the donkey passports, my Spanish documentation.. but everything was in order. He looked disappointed.

If you’re doing anything unusual these days, instead of shopping or going to a theme park, the police seem to target you as a subversive. So he thought he would land the killer blow. “Do you have anything to pick up the mess if they shit in the road?”

I quickly pulled out a dustpan and brush and said, “Would you like to take some home to put on your cactus plant?” He went quickly away and at last I could return to my beer. The English proprietor of the bar, El Guitarra (sic), was highly amused.

We made our way home along the main road, which has a nice wide donkey friendly verge and a fine view of Puig Campana.


About Gareth Thomas

After a mixed career as an aircraft technician, London fringe theatre playwright, Franciscan friar, and secondary school teacher, I find myself looking after the needs of four donkeys in a remote location in the mountains in the Costa Blanca. I like to listen to BBC Radio 4 and the wind in the pine trees. I am writing a comedy about a school in Benidorm. My favourite film of all time is "Jean de Florette". If I had my time again I would not have spent the early 1970s working for Special Branch.
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3 Responses to May Day with donks on the beach

  1. Sheel says:

    What have you got in those huge saddlebags?

    Plus – how long are donkeys pregnant for?

  2. Frere Rabit says:

    The saddlebags contained a picnic for the beach for me and the donks, my beach towel, various buckets for donkey arrangements. It was all bulk and little weight – about 10 kilos in each bag. But Rubi is a very small donkey, so look at the packs on Matilde in the last photo taken on the way home with the bags empty. They are smaller than Barbara’s saddlebags I used when walking with her Dalie last summer if you look at an earlier blogpost.

    On your other question, 375 days is the standard length of gestation, which is about a month more than a horse. I really hope it’s not a phantom pregnancy. I just can’t imagine how much paperwork I’d have to complete for the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture for permission to keep a phantom. I’d have to employ a ghost writer to fill in all the forms.

  3. Barbara says:

    Hi Gareth
    Looks like a fun picnic. BTW, the saddle bags hold exactly the same as the green ones, but they look smaller because they are shorter (but wider). You should try to get a smaller pack saddle for Rubi if possible, as the one you have is too long to fit neatly between her pelvis and shoulder. Woodwork classes at school? You can make nylon straps with plastic buckles.

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